Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Draft preview series: Notre Dame S Harrison Smith
By Bryan Broaddus and Tim MacMahon
The 22nd installment of our draft preview series focuses on Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith.
Scouts Inc. ranks: No. 2 safety, No. 35 overall
Bio: Finished career with 309 tackles, including 18.5 for losses, and is the only player in Notre Dame history with at least 200 tackles, 15 tackles for losses and 15 passes broken up. Had seven interceptions in 2010, but didn’t pick off a pass in his other three seasons for the Fighting Irish. Split time between safety and outside linebacker early in his career. Team captain in 2011 who graduated with a management-entrepreneurship degree the previous summer.
Harrison Smith lined up at strong safety and free safety at Notre Dame and plays with a physical style.
Broaddus Breakdown (viewed USC, Stanford and Florida State games): Lined up at both strong and free safety in Notre Dame’s scheme. Really believe he is more of a strong than a free in the NFL. … Shows some similar traits as Mark Barron in the fact that he doesn’t have great deep or catch-up speed, but he is not afraid to blow you up. Does a really nice job of being a physical player. Plays downhill. … Doesn’t have the reaction of Barron once he sees the play, but you do see him working in that direction to get in on the tackle. Really tries hard to get to the outside from the middle of the field when the ball goes that way. If he has a flaw, it is that it takes him a little time to get going. Will waste some steps and there is not much sharpness in his breaks, but again, his effort is there. … Does a nice job of playing off blocks and throwing his body around. Not afraid to fill at the point of attack when coming forward. … Used as a blitzer in the Stanford game. Was able to get a pressure on Andrew Luck, which created an interception. … Viewed him as a wrap-up tackler. Only saw him miss one tackle in the open field, and that was against Stanford when he was off balance. … See him more in coverage against tight ends than receivers. Was solid in the Stanford game against their group of fine tight ends. Showed good position in route, but he’s a little like Barron in that he needs to get his hands on the receiver to have a real good chance to stay in coverage. Gets away with a great deal of holding while in coverage. … Needs to keep things in front of him to really be effective. When he has to turn and run, he gets in trouble. … Is not the most fluid-moving player. That surprises me, because his 20 shuttle numbers from the combine are very similar to what some of the top cornerbacks run. … Looks like a much bigger player on tape and he plays with some pop. As mentioned before, you see him line up more as a free safety than you do Barron and see him more in coverage, but I don’t think you want to line him up in the slot against receivers. Really has limited skills as a cover guy because of his speed, but teams will fall in love with his toughness and his ability to play with a physical style.